It was strange traveling on a Super Star Destroyer that bore her name. She didn’t know the interior of the Dread Queen quite as well as she knew the Fortressa or her favored frigate, but it was becoming increasingly transparent. The more she walked the color-coded pathways throughout their travels the more she understood. The automatons that kept the shift in smooth working order were entirely unphased whilst she moved through the area like a soundless wraith.
Though she seemed to exude a sense of unmatched preeminence, almost arrogance, little could be further from the truth. The slender Echani dealt in fact, not fiction, and that trait left her distant and difficult to read. She was hard on the senses simply because of the way she remained disconnected from the masses. She was beautiful—But all wrong. A song without sound. A painting in which the color had washed out and drained away. Otherworldly, detached, and coupled with thoughts that hovered right on the precipice of falling off the edge of the world.
It would startle the organics that sat with her in the galley.
She lifted the tea that she had been nursing, quietly, and drained the rest away. The Exarch had been forbidden from actually cooking anything where there may be an open flame but she did find some form of enjoyment in watching others practice the craft. The auto-chef was also off-limits. She was the only person who had ever simultaneously caused it to melt, freeze, and leak acid at the same time.
When the massive ship exited hyperspace, she braced and released a delicate sigh when everything settled. It wasn’t as jarring as it was in a smaller vessel but it still left her feeling as if her ears needed to pop. Like she’d slipped underwater, deep down, where the pressure was almost too much. She could feel it between her eyes.
It would pass.
The teacup made a subtle chime as she placed it back down on the saucer and stood up. Her Master was calling. The crew that she had, unintentionally, left feeling very uncomfortable glanced between one another. Her movements were too swift, though, she had barely moved at all. It was unnerving.
“Is all well, Exarch Talon?”
Silvery eyes lifted from the table and fell on the singular brave soul that thought to speak to her directly. Srina had long since given up on trying to convince anyone on calling her by her first name. She was not fond of the titles and subservience. It pressed her into being more, and less, than she actually was. It had gone on so long that it could no longer be changed. Not a woman, not flesh, merely a Dreaded Queen. Larger than life and wholly inaccurate.
“We have arrived and the Vicelord beckons.”, she trailed off, lightly, though her tone seemed to carry on a wave of bitter cold. Beautiful, but dangerous, and only ever to be admired from afar. The ghostly smile that curved the edges of primrose lips would leave the entire room wondering whether or not she was joking. “There is no rest for the wicked.”
She returned her utensils and glassware, silently, before moving on. She was already clad in the hexagonally pattered Obsidian Strike armor. She anticipated that she may require it before this mission ended. The reports that they had been receiving were troubling. Disheartening. Ivory hair spilled over the hood and down her shoulders whilst she reached behind her back to ensure that her saber was there. She could feel the weight in the hidden holster, but, the cool metal was a quiet reassurance.
By the time Srina arrived at where Darth Metus
stood—She was not the first. Silver eyes took in the sight of Lavria Xedrim
and Cordelia Malkavian
. The Echani analyzed their moments while she flowed through the room in relative silence. One with dark hair, one with hair like fire, both with pale skin. As far as Apprentices went, they seemed to be fairly formidable on their own. Srina had certainly seen worse. Once upon a time, so long ago, she had been worse.
Just a little girl, drenched from the rain, lost and alone on Coruscant.
Plagued by that which she did not understand.
“Master.”, she greeted, as always, finding his side. There was no other place for her. Milk-white fingers reached out and fell against his arm to pull his focus. Her perception seemed to heighten from his presence. His power, her power, it all sprung from the same well. Twined in such a way that devotion, consecration, was made a mockery of. Thin golden threads bound them. A Force Bond that transcended all other things. “The reports were too vague…”
“This is far more damaging than we anticipated.”
Pirate scum. She had little tolerance for those that would profit off the backs of others. Srina had been raised to follow a path of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Those who took the easy way out would forever be less in her eyes. To be less—Was to be nothing. She scarcely considered them human.
Throughout his storied lifetime, the Sith had cultivated a number titles and responsibilities. Chief amongst them, at least in the present, was the mantle of Vicelord. This role was the source of glorious responsibility to untold trillions of lives in the Southern Systems. Beyond this, it settled a burden upon his shoulders - to consider and even worry over the calamities which their nation may face. Such it was that he personally descended upon Copperline this day. He would fulfill the duties of his role. However. In doing so, he had been neglecting one of the roles that he had elected for himself. The role was one nearly synonymous with father, for it required becoming a permanent fixture in one's life.
That mantle was Master.
To teach. To elevate. This was the commitment he had made to only a handful of souls. And, while his successor, Srina Talon
, had grown into an Exarch by his side...the formal education had waned over the years. In the beginning, he had taken her to many locales and shown her how to cultivate her strength in the Force. Now, they borrowed from one another's expertise. Betwixt them ran a river of unseen understanding: a Bond of the Force that was everlasting. Through this, the Echani had access to the full might that was Darth Metus. And through this, Isley could elevate his own martial prowess. Yet, when had it been that he had shown her how to take her abilities to the next level? How long had it been since there had been any education?
This was a shortcoming that he would remedy, not only for her sake but for the sake of the other two students he had taken under his wing.
Fortunately enough, the three were punctual in their arrivals in the hangar. The first to arrive was the newest of his charges. She had entered Confederate space alongside his son, Rann. And upon laying eyes on the woman, he noticed a sea of untapped potential. She was hungry for knowledge. Hungry for understanding in the Dark Side of the Force. And Isley was just ambitious enough to tutor her. Then there was the eldest of the three. The woman stricken with a literal thirst for life had been one of his longest students. Yet, the circumstances of life had seen them apart for many many years. In the present, she had shared bits and pieces of her current goals: all of them centered around the restoration of her family. This day would prove a boon towards that goal, in the long run.
And then there was Srina. Of the three, she spoke the loudest without saying a word. She reached out and trailed her fingers upon his forearm, a greeting that spoke volumes. And though they could not see it, a smile graced the man's face from underneath his helm. She stood by his side, just as she had since that rainy day on Coruscant. With all three assembled, Isley clasped his hands together. "We'll be taking the Scimitar." he began, before nodding to the obsidian vessel behind them. The ramp extended as he spoke and motioned for them to board. He tarried not, and ascended the ramp himself, settling down within one of the interior seats. A commando droid would serve as the pilot, freeing up his attention.
Once the three were settled, he reached into one of his pockets and produced a glass tube. Within rested a rather ugly insect. Yet, this was the subject of the day's lesson. "This," he began, placing it into Lavria's hands and motioning for her to pass it around. "is a Droch. It is a rare insect which feeds on its victims through the Force. It is said that Drain was first learned by subjecting one's self to its sting. Long ago, my brother and I did just that." He paused, nodding to the droid to launch the vessel. The roar of the engines would temporarily stall his instruction, followed by the surge of motion. They were a good ways out from the source of the disturbance - and therefore he had time aplenty to teach.
"Today, there are reports of vengeful spirits about the wreckage. And if you concentrate, I'm certain you can sense the animosity. The Jedi would tell you to purge them with the Light. The Witches would tell you to converse with them and to soothe their anger. Yet, I will teach you how to devour them."
As he continued, he removed one of the Crushgaunts from his hand to expose his bare flesh. Betwixt each, amber bands of the Force began to manifest. Darkness had entered the cockpit: a creeping cold that settled firmly into the pit of all stomachs. "In order to master this power, you must attune your body to the hunger. In short...you must feel its sting firsthand..." he began.
Don't think for one moment that Ashryn had missed that returned fire. The comment about how Mic would go well with a plate of salad? It caused Ash to turn her head and give him quite the long look. The sort of appraising look that one did indeed give to a meal when they were contemplating it very thoroughly. And then she made a face, which while it couldn't fully be seen due to the mask obstructing her features, it could indeed be seen in her eyes as she made it. "Something tells me you would hardly be filling." she stated, smug as could be and a smirk in her tone to go along with it.
But she said nothing more of the matter and instead approached the bar the way someone would approach an old friend. She didn't hesitate to order the first strong drink that came to mind, and then she stepped aside only enough to make room for Mic to fit himself beside her so that he could order...and make small talk.
Considering that was part of the reason they were over here in the first place, Ash didn't give him a bad time about it. Instead she stood beside and took her drink when it was offered over to her. She didn't sip at it as some would, she dove right into that first drink and let the burn scald it's way down her throat with a soft hiss through her teeth. From there however, she listened, brow creasing as the information was passed from barkeep to Mic. And when they were pointed deeper into the area?
Ash's body shifted just enough so that she could look where they were directed towards. "Oh good, because that doesn't seem ominous or anything." the sarcasm in her tone was nearly tangible, and she downed the rest of her drink almost as quickly as the words had left her mouth. "Anything else we should know about the area before we go traipsing further in?" the question was of course directed at the barkeep, though she hadn't shifted back around the face him, not now that she was scouting the area.
O B J E C T I V E | Boneyard L O C A T I O N | Around. F O C U S | Open to anyone.
Her lips parted to give a lazy yawn. There were days when she didn't sleep at least not properly, there was something disturbing her rest, when she closed her eyes Ashelia kept dreaming about the same scene over and over. She was back in the Gardens of Mesanore, the afternoon was gray and sitting around a table served for a banquet was all her family, even those who had died were still there, immutable by time. Everyone looked at her as if she had to say something or even do something, but Ashelia did not know what to do and when she approached the table, the mother looked at her and just said. "Remember, Ashe, remember.", But what should she remember? For days without end Ashelia had tried to unravel this mystery in vain, she now hoped that this dark place would help the young woman to meditate in search of connecting with a force vein that carried the answer she needed to know, or at least any clue. With her legs crossed, she remained seated on the floor, her eyes turned to the inhabitants of the planet, away from her presence, organizing the celebrations of the Haunting.
"Focus, Ashelia ... focus on who you are, go back to that day and do it in peace.", The lips murmured in a pasty tone, almost dragged with tiredness with the sad eyes closing slowly. She tried opening her mind, it came easily to her in that state, and as her consciousness started to drift away, the elzeri could have swore she smelled dead roses.
For the first time in a while, Gerwald was alone to wander and think. Life was not what the Lupine had thought it would, especially considering the events he had experienced over the past few years. The Confederacy had been different than anything he could have imagined, and the joy, challenges, and pain, that truth had brought him was more than he could carry alone at times. Yet Gerwald chose to do exactly that. The wolf refused to allow anyone to help him carry the burdens which weighed him down. It would be enough to make him break had he not held onto the hope that one day his burden would be lighter. It had become a habit to lift his hand to the ring which hung around his neck. It was the one thing which tethered Naedira Darcrath
to their world. The one reminder that his promise was still unmet.
There had been many students that needed his instruction, missions which required his attention. Gerwald had finally understood the words his former master had meant when he told the lupine such a thing was a burden, one that required a choice. How many times had Gerwald been close to keeping his promise, to freeing the woman, only to have to choose protecting the living. His duty was to them, and yet his duty was to her. One day the choice would not be there. The time would come when when he would not have to choose between protecting those with him, and saving the woman he loved.
They had seen fit to promote him despite his failures. He had survived an encounter with Darth Prazutis
, something not many had done. Gerwald had insisted the only reason had been because it was what the Mountain had wanted. Srina Talon
had found him, broken, tossed from a ship. The lupine should not have survived the fall, and yet he had. Many had helped the wolf to recover, but none so helpful as the Exarch. He refused to admit he had needed the help, but she had conferred some sense of ownership, as though he had been added to her collection.
He was a leader now, one that had been adding to a collection of his own. Gerwald had a responsibility to those in his charge. They would need him to remain strong, strong enough to lean on. Life had been ironic. One who refused to receive care had been made a caretaker, teacher, and mentor, to others.
A breeze blew against him, and with it came the smell of battle somewhere off in the distance. Normally the Lord Marshall would be there. His black blade would show the enemy he was not someone to be underestimated. Instead his crystal gaze was fixed on the mouth of the rocky cavern before him. There was something deep inside it, a pull to enter. Whatever was inside, it called to Gerwald, and the Lupine was not strong enough to resist. He was not afraid, and yet he felt as though he should have been.
It felt right.
Gerwald took one step forward, followed by another. It would not be long before he passed into the crevice, ensnared by whatever it was the force had drawn him to discover.
Vaux kept the sublights on full throttle as she darted between the wrecks. She was sure someone trying to keep track of her thought she was crazy flying as fast as she was, but Vaux knew her fighter. It could handle this. The TwinTail would reveal it's blood red hull as it slid past another derelict, not paying much attention until hearing the ghost ship remark.
"This is Gred. I've lived in space of a long time now and looked through a dozen junk fields. I've never seen a 'Gho....' By the Manda!" Vaux was wide eyed under her helmet as she gaze upon the large ship. It.... It couldn't be right. She had to be seeing.... No. It was showing on her fighter's scanners. "VK reactivate the launch tube scanner. Best help get as much data as we can. I'm opening the s-foils too, and moving in close." The fighter would slip closer, using debris to hide its approach as Vaux flipped the jammers on. Yes, it would take from her weapons power since the jammers' usual power supply was being used on the scanner, but she didn't want that ship picking up on her, whatever it was.
His answer was as she had expected it to be. Indeed, there were some terrifying individuals in the galaxy but at the end of the day, they were all flesh and bone. Most of them at least. Her own species however, as well as many other fabled threats that were in fact very real, were not as easily restrained. A corporeal body was something was useful, just as much as it was hindering. The Illyrian woman had a taste of the strengths and weaknesses of both. The tangible and, as Abel had put well, that which one could not fething cut.
She was about to reply, having every intention to continue their witty banter, but what appeared out of nowhere in front of them made the words disappear before they even had a chance to reach her tongue. The pink eyes of the Illyrian Lady widened, a serious expression washing over her features as it often did when experiencing the bad kind of surprise. Much like her Master, she could feel a darkness that loomed about the ship. What in the Ashen Winged's wretched realm was this thing?
The hand that fell on her shoulder was what brought her out of her trance, taking in a breath to steel herself she nodded, and made sure to not even think of the name of her goddess lest it bring misfortune upon them. Such was the religion of her people, one in which their patron brought not aid but calamity, and while they were far away from Illyria, that ship seemed like something that would put a macabre grin on the goddess' face.
"On it." Under pressure, it seemed as though her hands trembled less than they did when this was just a practice drive. One could say that not staying around to wait and see if the decrepit ship with a darkside presence was friendly was good enough of an incentive, but still Fauvel could not help but remain focused on that very presence while her eyes scanned the surrounding space waiting for the moment when she could push the ship into a faster speed with less risk of crashing onto something.
As soon as the window appeared, she did as Abel had asked and hastened the vessel. She did not feel the dark presence follow them, and this seemed to bring some relief as her eyes flickered for a moment towards Abel, "I thought it would follow us." It seemed now was her turn to jinx them.
The blinding lights flashed before them again, much closer this time, forcing the Illyrian Lady to close her eyes for a second. The ghost ship had materialized before them again, and Fauvel barely had time to react pulling the vessel into a sharp and sloppy turn to avoid running into it, a curse in her native tongue slipping past her lips. As she turned their ship, she caught sight of a red hull, starfighter piloted by Vaux Gred
, and another ship to the right, Cazo Thraos
Realization then dawned on her, once she was met face to face with the two friendly vessels knowing that the ghost ship loomed behind them. "It is herding us in!" Between the debris that impeded the free movement of their vessel and its apparent ability to fething vanish and reappear to cut their escape off, it would not be hard for the ghost ship to achieve its end.
The single squadron of drones were moving out, the ships swinging around and clear of one another as the communication line chirped to life. The lazy switch to the line was officer listened with growing apprehension. He muted his end of the line as the display updated itself with the incoming scan data, the soft chewing of Caz's thumb pausing briefly as the ship appeared before her.
Several details about it bothered her. Had the commander looking it over with a sense of dread that came with knowing deep in your gut that there was something tremendously wrong with what was being seen. There was nothing aboard. And by all rights the thing should not have been moving.
A cold chill ran down her back as an ill feeling spread through her. She was caught by it for a moment, stuck staring in wide eyed disbelief at the sight before her teeth clenched and pierced the end of her thumb.
A sharp curse had her striding to the comm station as she opened up the line herself. The officer scooted back, steering clear of the commander while gazing at the display himself with fear induced awe.
"Knight Abel. This is Commander Thraos of the Freeline. If you can, make it to our location with haste." She turned back to the sight once more with thoughtful wonder. If it was really a ghost ship, would their weapons be effective? The scan had shown them it was there, suggesting there was something tangible to enact the-she shook her head out of the dangerous line of thought.
"If that thing is physical, we can outpunch it here." She licked the drop of blood from her lip absentmindedly, thumb compressed with her pointer finger wrapped around it as she moved away from the console and back to the display. A snap from her other hand had the man back at his station and opening the lines.
"All battle stations, full charge and prepare to engage. Do not fire without direct command. Communicate firing vectors and aim for the sections holding that...thing together. Confirm point of impact and stagger fire to ensure complete destruction of target." She was spinning the display rather than walking around it, looking at the knight's current position in relation to the unknown vessel and back to her own as it moved with alacrity to them.
"Send all data through the Freelines systems for complete focused fire. All information officers, I want constant updates to our surroundings in case another one rears up while we are keeping friendlies alive." Words poured out as she moved to the viewports to watch the scene with her own eyes.
Space, and more importantly the dark of it, was a terrifying thing for her people.
The inky black of the void making the stars seem like pin pricks put through a large, encompassing veil. That something like that had just, cropped up from seemingly no-where bothered her terrifically. She moved to chew on her thumb again, wincing at the split before tapping her foot instead. It had taken little time to issue the orders, but in that time, a small blip on the holodisplay had emitted not once.
The only one to notice the display was the comm officer as he stared in agape horror while waving a hand to try and get her attention. She however had seen the bright light, had to squint when the first one had been produced. Not because of how bright it was, but the after. Trying to see the vessel in the lingering pitch black of space.
Tried to see it before it reappeared in a flash so dreadfully close. The fine hairs on the nape of her neck rose. A guttural reaction to the sudden danger, the sudden unknown that presented itself.
"Ma'am you-Ma'am...Ma'am." He stared at the display while speaking in an alarmed tone, eyes never leaving the picture of the now horrendously close ghost ship. "That thing...teleported."
"I can see that, Higgins." She snapped, angry and defensive at the sudden shift in battlefield. One that did not favor her. "Feth. Fethfethfethfe-"The tip of her thumb screamed as she chewed on it once more with eyes wide while muttering under her breath.
How were they supposed to fight this?
The weapon batteries in question had spun up, capacitors charging to full in short order as they attempted to range the target before the disappearing act occurred and had them scrambling to acquire the target again. Both the Freeline and Poise halted the operation of clearing a path, power diverting to weapons as the batteries swiveled to require while accounting for friendlies now danger close.
You do not have a pup nip at the ankles of a dragon, the Nightmother 'whispered' in the Vicelord's Darth Metus
ear from afar.
Were there spirits an Initiate could 'devour?' Certainly. Did they want to 'roll the dice' if they were lucky enough to find one suitable? When they were prepared. Not any sooner. The Nightsisters did not cast their young into the wilds without preparation. Survival, growth, and understanding were what they sought -- not an adrenaline rush.
Seeing how those with Metus were his own charges, however, and not ones that availed themselves to the Nightmother, Vytal wouldn't dissuade him from his venture. By some miracle his apprentices had not died, and they seemed content to toil in the darkness that surrounded him. Their life. Their choice.
"How soon before the Triuvette is completed?" the Pale Witch's green eyes shifted from the wreckage ahead of the vessel upon which she stood. Several artifacts had been placed to narrow the field of their search for the wound that infested this region of space. Their efforts might not seal away the spirits that lingered here, but it would restore Balance. The danger would not grow with time as the curious and greedy came and joined the ranks of the dead. An on-going effort could purge the area of those that remain; or if the Vicelord had his way such spirits would be crushed, distilled, and be little more than fuel.
Such Art was not unknown to Vytal. It was something best used sparingly in her estimation, however. Unless you desired to become a great meal from which many spirits would hunger tirelessly. A scent, if you will, with ever greater terrors churning in the depths of the Nether eager for their chance to feast.
Lavria could feel it as the others entered the hangar. For months, she had been off-balance....teetering on the edge of a deep hole that she wanted to avoid at all costs. Now, she finally felt comfort and purpose within the Darkness.
Her Master did not waste time in directing them to the dark-as-night ship behind him. She followed, once more out of curiosity and not complete devotion. She had felt the deep seated power within this man and she wanted to learn from him what she could.
As the ship took off in the direction of the disturbance, Master Metus removed a vial from his pocket and passed it around with an insect Lavria had seen once before in Sith Space. She had heard about the Drochs, but have never dealt with them before. As she passed on the vial, Darth Metus explained its properties.
The promise of learning as dangerous a power as the one she accidentally wielded on Onderon, piqued her curiosity even more. Even the thought of the sting and its effects did not sway her. So when her Master asked who would feel its sting first, the sneer that had been absent for weeks, spread around the corner of her mouth once more as she held out her hand. "I want this power, Master." she said, her usual golden eyes burning a bright yellow at the prospect of more Dark power.
The Haunting. It was a celebration for the dead, and while Daegon looked as though he would be one that would enjoy such a celebration, the events of the last year had soured his mind toward celebrations such as these. His best friend was almost killed. Derek was still not himself in many regards, and Daegon wondered if he ever would be. Seraphina, Daegon's angel, she had almost been a casualty as well. The fact he had been faced with the prospect of her death had made him want to stay away from this event. Seraphina, however, wanted to decorate.
Daegon would do anything for her, and there had been moments where her happiness seemed as though it was not something he would ever see again. Sera had lost her sight and it was something which had left her in a state of depression. It was the only way Daegon could describe the malaise which he observed. What she had been able to do, the things she loved required her ability to see. This did as well, but today Daegon would be her eyes.
Today it was ship graveyard that would be the site of the celebration. Lamps, streamers, anything that would light up the night and make the graveyard look festive and proper for the night. Daegon had one rule.
"No ladders," he said as they neared the the boneyard.
The Demon was partially joking, but he also knew that if she could, Seraphina would push her limits, and while he typically encouraged her to try more than she thought she was capable of, this time he would not. It was enough that she wanted to help decorate and put the lamps together, and whatever things they would find themselves doing. When they arrived there was another there. Ashelia Solidor
. Daegon had not met her before, but he was glad to meet new people and further his connections within the Confederacy.
Naturally the Demon was overdressed for the task at hand, though he would naturally make introductions between them all. As they approached something seemed off about the woman. Her eyes were closed. Interrupting her would be rude, which meant the introductions would have to wait.
"There is another here, but it seems she may be meditating. I think we will need to wait to properly introduce ourselves. In the meantime where should we begin? I can describe colors... sizes... anything, but you're going to have to tell me what will go well together."
He kissed the top of his wife's head as they walked to where the decorations and supplies were waiting for them. Everything around them, Daegon described in detail as he passed the image of what he saw into the mind of the Angel of Thyferra. She did not have her eyes, but Seraphina had the Demon, and he would be her eyes.
She had become so used to following as of late. To be steered in one direction or another, for whatever reason. Many things in fact, that had pulled her from her original path; for the very reason she was even around these people - her Master included - in the first place. But she was more tame now also, able to pull focus, to listen and take direction. It was honestly a dangerous game to have her here on her own, though the dangers were nothing the three bodies around her could not handle certainly. No, were Cordelia to lose her mind at a moment's notice she had no concerns over whether or not she would get far in her rampage.
Again she found herself trailing along, being lead to a new location by obedience alone. She had paid little mind to the pair of women who had joined other than the initial taking in of both of them. She was not familiar with either of them, and had she been once before she did not recall in this second life now so it really didn't matter much regardless. Whatever the case, they were all apprenticed to one Master, and while Delia had paid little attention to moving from one place to another, she did focus when that vial was passed to her hands.
It was studied curiously, real interest finally piercing her expression as she did so. She did not hold the vial long and passed it when required of her, but then her gaze shift back to the Master before the three of them. The information about this creature made Cordelia frown, but it was a thoughtful expression rather than a put upon one. "Master," she spoke up after the woman beside her had offered to go first; to be stung by this creature and feel it's effects before the rest of them. Not that Delia mind this fact, but that still was not the reason she frowned nor why she spoke up. "Will these toxins affect me?"
Delia was a special case after all, and she already surged with a constant hunger. Not the same in regards of the topic at hand, but still a raging hunger she had delicate control over regardless. But she was still learning what could harm her and what could not after all, so it was at the very least a valid question on her part.
He reeeally wanted to get his bum back to the beach. If there's one thing he hated, it was spooks. They were damn hard to get rid of and they just gave him the creeps. Him and creeps didn't get along. If he couldn't shoot at it, it was a problem. Damn, he started to sound like Fly Girl.
He downed his drink as he listened to the barkeep. He suppressed a groan when Ash asked for even more details regarding the spooky Boneyard. Why did she need more details. Weren't the knowledge of spooks enough? Jeez! A shudder ran through him. Well maybe it was good that she got more intel. It couldn't hurt, could it?
The barkeep looked at her. "Not much else to tell, Miss. Only, most disappear between the wrecks. Be wary, folks." he said before resuming wiping out glasses.
Mic pursed his lips. Great. They had to go in there. What the heck was he hunting in the first place? What could spooks have that someone else would want? He sighed. A beach sounded really good right about now. Far from Spookland.
He looked over to Ash. He sure hoped she was ready for this. "You up for some spook hunting?" he asked her, motioning with his head to the wrecks. There were not even a handful of people that he'll have watching his back. She was one of the few, as she had skills. She had, after all, saved his life not too long ago. He needed that skill today. He stood up straight and gave a two finger salute to the barkeep before starting to saunter over to the wrecks with a sense of dread.
She could feel her Master thinking. It was a soft tug that caused the edges of her lips to turn upward. A sense of turning something over and over until the desired conclusion was finally met. The wintry woman tried not to pry into his thoughts unbidden, though, there were times when it could not be helped. Certain moments that were fraught with tension and emotion tended to bleed through their bond as easily as blood ran through a bandage that was too thin. Srina had long ago learned to follow in his footsteps, to listen, and to learn when the opportunity presented itself. It was true that their exposure had waned over the years—But that didn’t mean that she had been lackadaisical. She kept growing. Kept bettering herself.
He would likely be surprised at some of the newer techniques she had acquired. Surprised, but proud.
Regardless of her individual gains she would never complain about spending time with Darth Metus
. He was one of the few people who understood her, remained patient with her, regardless of her folly. She did not need to see his face to know that he smiled at her nearness. His helm was nothing to her. Just as her empty expression was nothing to him. He knew the truth of what lay behind eternal ice and distant sorrow. Blazing anger. A wrath that screamed, that writhed and blazed into the heavens. Her application of the Force spoke louder than she ever could.
Her Master moved. She followed, orbiting, as if she were a small satellite.
Old habits died hard.
Once they were within the vessel, she found herself folding down into a seat beside the sable-skinned Sith Lord. She was mostly unfamiliar with her two sibling apprentices that accompanied them, however, that didn’t mean she hadn’t assessed them in her silence. Srina said nothing while the goals of this outing were succinctly explained. The Droch that Darth Metus
passed to Lavria was small. It was how they all started out. “When they encounter living tissue—Do they not seek to immediately burrow?”
It typically wasn’t just a simple sting. They also reproduced at an alarming rate and if left unchecked could bring about a necrotizing plague. Charming. Her arms crossed as she leaned back in the seat, passively, monitoring the foul insect in the jar. Srina was fond of many creatures large and small. This would never be one of them.
It didn’t surprise her when Lavria Xedrim
claimed that she would like the power he offered. No question about the delivery method. It wasn’t as odd as it seemed. Sith craved power. No amount obtained would ever be enough. Not ever. For as powerful as they thought themselves to be there was always something stronger hidden out amongst the stars. They couldn’t risk refusing. Draining life was one of the very first tools that her Master had taught her. Strangely enough, on Kashyyyk.
This would be a remedial course.
As the vial was passed, she didn’t bother looking at it ahead of time. When it came to the moment in which she needed it; she would proceed without caution. Never had she disobeyed her Master in a moment such as this. Srina was a little more interested when Cordelia Malkavian
asked if the insect would affect her. It was curious, a query, that she had no answer to. Perhaps Metus would know more.
A familiar feeling caused her to glance toward one of the viewports. She couldn’t tell what the Nightmother (Vytal Noctura
) had spoken to the Vicelord but she did know that the pale-skinned woman was present. The soft hum of her power was always evident to the wintry Exarch. Almost like a fingerprint being left behind.
“Devour it is, then. I am hungry.”
Her lips quirked to the side, briefly, before a cold mask slid back over exquisite features. She uncrossed her arms so that she could roll up her sleeve and held her arm out. “Let’s get this over with…”
<But if I contract a plague and my skin rots off—I blame you, Master.>
Her spirits had dampened since the loss of her sight; but her love of life and all things within it would never fade away. Daegon, in some ways, seemed to almost take it harder than she did. Seraphina had adjusted to the new reality. Perhaps one day her eyes could be restored by one of the many healers that came to visit Thyferra, but until then, she couldn’t stop living. Her beloved had wished to avoid this event but had caved almost instantly with gentle pleading. It wasn’t often that she asked for something.
As much as she tried to live, for him, it was difficult. Sight was such an integral piece of who she was. What diathim could not fly? What diathim could not see? It seemed to be against everything she had ever known. She could not read sheet music. Could not see the colors of flowers nor watch the seasons change from their mountaintop home. She was saddened. She tried to hide it from her husband but he had known her for so many years—It was almost impossible.
With that in mind, she pushed herself to do better. To smile more often. To thank him for his attention, his time, and dedication. Everything he did seemed to be designed to protect and provide for her.
It seemed unfair. He could do these things; but she could not.
She hadn’t been able to protect Derek Dib
either. Not truly. Their sad outcome in the Siskeen Systems so long ago had partially been due to her inexperience with dire situations. She was well-versed in diplomatic affairs, but combat wasn’t something she had touched. Daegon always kept her far away from violence and danger. Not for the first time, she thought, it might be a good idea to learn.
Was it too late?
This excursion to a faraway planet was just what she needed. A chance to get away and feel the happiness of others while they celebrated. Joy was infectious. It was something she wouldn’t mind skipping through both herself and her husband. Daegon deserved it. More than anyone.
“Will you not catch me if I fall?”, she questioned, reaching up to adjust the black silken blind-fold that hid sightless eyes. It was best to keep them hidden. As usual, Seraphina had been dressed by her attendants for the occasion. Her wings were in full view, touching her skin with a pale glow, while she wore a black and purple ensemble to match that of her husband. Flowered heels decorated delicate feet and her ears were made pointed by exquisitely crafted pieces of jewelry. Tied to her side was a glowing bauble that held some sort of “curse” but was really full of glow-sweets.
Her fingers were woven neatly through that of her husband while they walked. Every footstep triggered the echolocation that she had been using to get by. Seraphina could see faded representations of things in her minds eye. The tables. The materials. A woman that, according to Daegon, seemed to be meditating. Interrupting was rude. But, so was saying nothing at all.
“Hello there—I’m Sera. This is Daegon.”
Her words were punctuated with sweetness and a certain purity that didn’t often exist. The quiet woman (Ashelia Solidor
) may very well wake up if she realized that she had company and someone to talk to. Well. Someone aside from the spirits. Sera had heard that some could communicate with the dead! How frightening.
Daegon began to pass her images of the items available and she slowly began to choose what she wanted for her lantern. She didn’t know who she was making it for. But she chose some of the darker colors that went well together and cut-outs to make diamond shapes. She reached out for the tables edge when Daegon kissed the top of her head and slowly felt for some of the glimmering jewels that could be attached. “This one, Daegon?”
She’d found a large stone that held a pale yellow light.